Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

Barcelona Day 5: Webber hints at Red Bull’s potential

Mark Webber led Day 5

Mark Webber led Day 5

Mark Webber headed the fifth day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, after Sergio Perez’s fastest lap was deleted for cutting a chicane.

Webber’s best lap came in the morning during a qualifying simulation, when the track was still damp. At that point, he was up to two seconds faster than anyone else on track.

A strange addition to Button's McLaren

A strange addition to Button's McLaren

Jenson Button ran with a strange addition to the nosecone, and was 0.3 seconds behind the Red Bull. His day was spoilt by being forced to abandon a race simulation, losing him up to 50 laps.

Vitaly Petrov took over from an unwell Nick Heidfeld, who had a cold. Petrov was 3rd, several hundreths behind Button. Perez was in the top 5 all day long, and ended up 4th. With a few minutes to go, a shock time of 1.21.176 propelled him to the top, 1.4 seconds faster than Webber. However, the live timing revealed he had gained two full seconds in the final sector by cutting a chicane, and the lap was removed.

Nick Heidfeld was 5th, after dropping out after 20 laps. Paul di Resta was 6th for Force India, while Lotus tested Davide Valsecchi. He managed 50 laps, and was 2.8 seconds off the fastest time, although he spun into the gravel in the afternoon.

Sebastien Buemi was 8th, and Nico Hulkenberg 9th. Luiz Razia shared the Lotus car with Valsecchi, but was 6.5 seconds off the pace.

Jerome D’Ambrosio did not set a competitive lap time, but set 57 laps and was in and out of the pits all day long.

Times from Barcelona Day 5:

Pos  Driver             Team                  Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault      1.22.544          97
 2.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1.22.910   0.366  74
 3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1.22.937   0.393  27
 4.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari        1.24.117   1.573  90
 5.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault               1.24.735   2.191  20
 6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1.25.039   2.495  38
 7.  Davide Valsecchi   Lotus-Renault         1.25.406   2.862  50
 8.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.26.004   3.460  48
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1.26.030   3.486  31
10.  Luiz Razia         Lotus-Renault         1.26.723   4.179  29
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1.32.060   9.516  57

Bahrain GP decision delayed until May

The 2011 Bahrain GP is still in doubt

The 2011 Bahrain GP is still in doubt

After the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was due to take place this weekend, the race organisers have been given until May 1st to decide the future of the 2011 event.

Speculation over the past few weeks has been mounting over if the 2011 race can actually take place, as the 20-race calendar contains very few empty slots for Bahrain to fill. Only two choices are currently being discussed. The first is to host the race during the summer break, in early July. However, the searing temperatures (up to 40 degrees) has discouraged this date.

The second option, and the better one in my opinion, is to move the race one week before or after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. However, this poses logistical problems to the teams, who would have up to 3 races in 3 weeks.

With a difficult decision on their hands, the Bahrain Motor Federation has been granted time to make their call, according to an FIA statement:

"The World Motor Sport Council asked the Bahrain Motor Federation to communicate by 
May 1st at the latest if the Bahrain Grand Prix can be organised in 2011."

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has also stated that he will look for every opportunity to host the race:

"I don't know how likely it is that there is going to be peace in Bahrain. But if 
there is, we will find a way.

The people there have been very big supporters of us, and are becoming bigger and 
bigger. We have much more support in Bahrain than we did when we first started 
there, and if they want the race we want to supply it for them."